McGill 3, Concordia 2: Stingers Fall to Martlets in Last Game Before Holiday Break
Despite Tight Battle Stingers Can’t Catch Up to Martlets
Stingers head coach Julie Chu’s squad came out flying as they heavily pressed the Martlets down in their territory in the first minutes of Saturday’s game.
Concordia even recorded the first quality scoring chance when forward Claudia Dubois managed to get a shot from the slot.
“It was a fun game,” said Chu. “It was back and forth. It almost felt like a playoff game in intensity, speed and chances for both programs.”
McGill flipped the script on the Stingers minutes later when Kate Devries’ shot was deflected by a Concordia player. The puck managed to find the back of the net as Stingers goaltender Alice Philbert slid out of position from her initial trajectory.
The home team came right back into this one when third-year forward, Marie-Pascal Bernier, scored on a quick rush. The setup came from teammate Stéphanie Lalancette who stretched the play, skating below the goal line on the rush.
The Martlets regained the lead before the end of the period. First-year forward Laura Jardin bat the puck out of the air to beat Philbert.
“It was neck and neck,” said Chu. “I don’t know what the final score was. Even the third goal there was a tough bounce.”
McGill’s third goal came early in the second thanks to Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec point-leader, Jade Downie-Landry. Her pass attempt to the front of the net deflected on Philbert’s stick and rolled over the goalie’s shoulder, finding its way into the net.
Concordia’s bad luck persisted as the team wasn’t able to capitalize on either of their two power play opportunities in the second. Stingers’ points-leader Audrey Belzile rang one off the post on the team’s first player advantage.
Martlets goaltender Tricia Deguire left her mark on the game with a beautiful sprawling save when the game returned to even strength. She recorded 33 saves and the honour of RSEQ’s first star of the game.
The Stingers were awarded another powerplay before the end of the second. But once again, they were stoned by Deguire and her defense.
Starting the third with a player advantage, the Stingers established a strong presence in McGill’s territory.The pressure paid off quickly as fourth-year forward Sophie Gagnon put the puck past Deguire. Coming at 2:26, the goal kept the home squad hope alive with plenty of time to play in the third.
“It gave the team a surge,” said Belzile of Gagnon’s goal. “We were losing 3-1, so we really felt the momentum in our favour after the goal. We knew we were now only one goal behind.”
After Gagnon’s goal, the Stingers took over the game and showed they were not done yet. They managed to provide enough offense in that third frame to catch up to McGill’s shot total. The home team was totally outshot 27-18 after two periods of play.
Concordia’s best chance of the period came off the stick of Belzile. But once again, her shot could only find the horizontal bar.
“It was so frustrating,” she said. “But you know, it’s part of the game.”
The reigning RSEQ champions could never catch up to their opponents in the end. They dominated the third period and had another power play opportunity during the frame, but it was all in vain. The squad gave a valiant effort, but the bounces were simply not falling for them.
“Sometimes you feel like the puck is simply not rolling you,” said Gagnon. “Today we didn’t get the bounces to go in our favour. The other side got lucky with theirs. But in the end, we should have capitalized on our chances.”
The Stingers missed a chance to catch up their intown rivals in the RSEQ standings. The squad will now get chance to recuperate as they enter the month long holiday break. They will be back in action in the new year in a rematch against the Martlets, Jan. 3.
“I think it arrives just in time,” said Belzile. “We would have liked to end it on a victory. We will have time to think about it for a while. Were especially looking forward to getting back into against McGill. We want to comeback in the season series against them.”